CLARENCE THOMAS: a black conservative Justice

Kettaf, Fatima-Zohra (2016) CLARENCE THOMAS: a black conservative Justice. [Mémoire]

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Item Type: Mémoire
Creators: Kettaf, Fatima-Zohra
Directeur de recherche: Coste, Françoise
Divisions: UFR Langues, Littératures et Civilisations Etrangères > Département Etudes du Monde Anglophone (DEMA)
Diplôme: M1 Etudes anglophones
Uncontrolled Keywords: Civilisation Américaine du 20ème siècle, Conservatisme américain, Conservatisme américain noir
Mots-clés dans une autre langue: American Politics, Conservatism, Black Conservatism, African-Americans
Abstract: Ce mémoire se propose de dresser un modeste portrait du juge Clarence Thomas afin que le lecteur puisse reconstituter son portrait politique et idéologique et juger par lui même du conservatisme du juge Thomas durant la période précédant sa nomination à la cour suprême des Etats Unis. En effet, le positionnement idéologique de Clarence Thomas s’est développé graduellement de la gauche vers la droite.
Résumé dans une autre langue: This essay is a modest portrayal of Justice Clarence Thomas that helps the reader to piece together a political portrait of him and answer the question about how conservative he was before his nomination to the U.S Supreme Court. Indeed, Clarence Thomas’s political thinking grew gradually from the left and liberal side of the ideological spectrum to its very conservative far right. In regard to the definition of conservatism, Thomas’s ideology can be assessed according to libertarianism and traditionalism. First, Thomas struggled for what he saw as the protection of individual rights when he opposed school desegregation and preferential policies at the Department of Education and at the EEOC. It is his strong belief in individualism and Ayn Rand’s objectivism that puts him on the same page as Friedrich Von Hayek. His refusal to abide by goals and time tables demonstrates his opposition to the intervention of government in matters such as education and work. Moreover, his criticism of welfare policies adds proof to his belief in a small government. In addition, his participation to conservative think tanks such as the Federalist Society which for example, claimed that minimum wage and safety laws at work should not be determined by the federal government, also shows to what extent he was reluctant to any government’s interference with such issues. When it comes to traditionalism, the picture becomes more complex. Thomas himself reckons that he broke once with the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, Thomas came back to religion and chose the Episcopal Church after marrying Virginia Lamp. His opinions on abortion, revealed by his former classmates at Yale School and colleagues at the Department of Education and at the EEOC, stirred up oppositions from feminist groups during his nomination. Yet, there was no written evidence against Thomas. However, Thomas openly championed natural law and originalism that put him at odds with liberals and made him appear very traditionalist. Having grown more conservative, one can wonder if Thomas has remained very conservative while seating in the highest court of the land and if his ideology influenced his judicial opinions.

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